The Bizarre World of Florida

Charity begins at home — but can end up in court July 15, 2014

Filed under: Abuse,Amazing,Bizzarre,Disgusting,Dumb,OK Then .....,Sad Story,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 1:29 pm

Suzanne Keller-Becker says she offered an old friend a place to stay to help her get back on her feet. It was only supposed to be for a few days. But then the friend’s boyfriend, a convicted felon, showed up, and the pair refused to leave.

4205671_GKeller-Becker says they started using terms like “established residency” and claimed the Tampa home was now their home, too. The boyfriend whipped out an identification card with Keller-Becker’s address on it.

“It’s like living in hell in your own home,” Keller-Becker said.

She called Tampa Police but once they heard the couple’s story, they called this a civil matter and said Keller-Becker would have to take the matter to court in order to evict the unwanted guests.

But since Keller-Becker is renting the home, she called her landlord. No good news there either. The landlord said she was now in violation of her lease for having extra people in her home. The landlord said he could evict the squatters, but he would also evict Keller-Becker, who lives in the home with her husband and 15-month-old baby, because of the cost to evict.

So she tried to co-exist with the squatters and convince them to leave.

The pair stashed a few blankets and pillows, a basket of clothes, and their cat on the porch. They slept on the floor. They ate the family’s food – and worse. Keller-Becker says she tried various things to pressure the squatters out, including removing the toilet paper.But what did the squatters do? They started using the family’s coffee filters.

“It has been crazy,” Keller-Becker said. “I can’t believe this can happen.”

She was finally at the end of her rope. After nearly a month, she called 8 On Your Side.

When the female squatter, Erisan Seibert, came home last week, our cameras were there. She would say only she was not on the lease and her friend told her she could stay. When asked why she and boyfriend Kyle Cooke won’t leave now that she’s been asked to go, she ignored the question, grabbed her cat and left.

None of this is surprises Tampa real estate attorney Joseph Kalish.

“It’s the way it is,” he said. “If you don’t enforce your rights, they’re going to be able to stay.”

The way the law is written, if you let someone stay in your home, and they claim to have established residency, the only way out is to file for eviction.

Kalish says the law will help, but it takes time. Homeowners, or tenants, can force out unwanted guests by filing a lawsuit called an “unlawful detainer.” It’s similar to an eviction but different because squatters don’t have a lease. This court action would take at least 30 days, but probably longer.

In the meantime, you could be stuck with squatters. Kalish recommends being extra careful about who you allow inside your home. If they won’t leave, police likely won’t force them to go, especially if the guests are there longer than one week. Keller-Becker says police even told her that if she changed the locks, she could be forced to let her squatters back in.

This is the third high-profile squatter story reported by 8 On Your Side in recent months.

Often, law enforcement says their hands are tied because they must recognize verbal agreements. If it’s unclear whether someone is supposed to be in a home, police often say it’s a civil matter and let a judge figure it out.

Legislator Amanda Murphy represents Pasco County, where two of the squatters claimed residency. She says the law needs to be strengthened to prevent squatters from taking over.

“We’ve reached the point that something needs to be done,” she said. “This is a very complicated issue, but we have to come up with new legislation to protect people. This could happen to anyone that tries to help someone by opening their home.”

After questions from 8 On Your Side and a call to the boyfriend’s probation officer, there was a change of heart. Keller-Becker says the pair showed up Sunday night, packed up and left.


Women tried to run over ex; rammed three cars instead July 14, 2014

sfl-flduh-run-over-ex-rammed-20140713-001A woman’s anger turned into a rampage as she tried to run over her ex and instead rammed into three cars after he refused to restart their relationship, according to a Delray Beach police arrest report.

Police responded to the hectic situation on Sunday after a man reported the mother of his children, Dynesha Bonner, 22, of Delray Beach, was upset after he refused to get back with her.

The rejection triggered an outburst in which Bonner got in her car and tried and run him over. But when the victim dodged, she rammed a 1974 Chevrolet Impala, then backed up and rammed it several more times, according to the report.

The victim went inside, but said he was chased outside by a broom-wielding Bonner.

That’s when Bonner tried to run over the victim again. But this time, she hit a 1993 Toyota Camry and a 2004 Chevrolet Impala as a 71-year-old woman was trying to get out of the car, according to the report.

Police said Bonner then attacked another woman helping the 71-year-old woman before Bonner drove off.

She was arrested Thursday and faces aggravated assault, battery, hit-and-run and resisting arrest charges and is held in teh Palm Beach County Jail without bail.


Please don’t shoot the messenger — or his company July 11, 2014

Filed under: Abuse,Bad Temper,Bizzarre,Controversy,Disrespectful,Dumb,Florida Nut,Stupid,WTF? — floridaduh @ 12:59 pm

sfl-flduh-cable-guy-sex-offender-20140710-001Lynn Haven police have arrested a convicted sex offender for not registering a new address after bullying a cable technician and threatening to shoot all of the cable company employees, police reported Wednesday.

Richard Acton St. John, 66, called the cable company Monday because he was receiving more channels than he requested. When the cable guy showed up at his home on Maine Avenue , St. John confronted him and began cursing and screaming at him, according to police reports.

Police said the cable guy left after St. John told him to get off his property or he would shoot him. St. John later called the offices of the cable company and again became outraged, threatening to shoot everyone in the building.

When police investigated the threatening phone call, they discovered St. John was convicted in 1993 of molesting a minor in Alabama . He moved to Bay County , registered at an address on Sunset Avenue, but didn’t notify Bay County authorities of his relocation toMaine Avenue .

St. John was arrested and taken to Bay County Jail for failure to register. Additional charges of assault in connection with the cable confrontation were filed later.


Newlywed man, 79, tries to kill bride July 9, 2014

fl-hallandale-married-attempted-murder-jpg-20140708They were married just eight months, but police say a 79-year-old man tried to kill his wife, 73, after accusing her of stealing his checkbook.

Luis Ames, of Hallandale Beach, was arrested Monday after he struck his wife with the handle of a handgun, police said.

The woman, who police did not identify, was sleeping in their bedroom when Ames woke her up and made the theft allegation, Hallandale Beach Police Officer Josue Hernandez’s police report said.

She denied the accusation, and he took a firearm from a dresser drawer. While shouting, ‘I’m going to kill you,’ Ames struck the top of her head with the gun while it was still in its holster, police said.

The woman’s head was cut and “copious amounts” of blood flowed down her face, body and clothing, the report stated.


Snoozing man accused of hitting cop with case of beer July 8, 2014

A Palmetto man was charged with trespass and resisting arrest with violence Sunday, according to the Palmetto Police Department.

1fXS2G.AuSt.69Cristobal Perez, 47, was arrested at 1:32 p.m. According to a report, Perez was sleeping in the front yard of someone’s home on Eighth Avenue West. The resident called police to ask that Perez be removed. When he was awakened, police say Perez refused to leave the property.

After an officer helped Perez up, the Palmetto man reportedly grabbed a beer out of a case he had. The officer refused to let Perez open the beer and told him again that he needed to leave the property, a report states. Perez refused to let go of his beer.

“The defendant then swung the case of beer towards me, hitting me with it,” the police report states.

According to a report, Perez was placed on the ground and under arrest. He was booked in jail on bonds totaling $2,000



Culprit in the pulpit? ‘God’ breaks into church July 4, 2014

An employee at River Praise Church opened an office Tuesday morning and found a 39-year-old man sleeping on the floor.

sfl-flduh-god-breaks-church-20140703-001Jacob Randoll, of 5450 Montana Ave., broke several windows that morning to get inside the church at 5320 Palmetto Road, according to a Pasco County Sheriff’s Office report. When deputies arrived, Randoll told them his name was “God,” then “Jesus Christ,” and finally, “Ayden Randoll.”

He was arrested on charges of obstructing police, burglary and criminal mischief at a church. But he wasn’t done.

In the back of a deputy’s car, the report said, he kicked out a window, destroying its frame, and tried to climb out. Deputies had to strike him with a stun gun to keep him from escaping.

Randoll’s aggression continued, the report said, when deputies took him to North Bay Hospital for medical clearance. As he was being checked, he grabbed a physician by the neck. Deputies again used a stun gun to subdue him.

He received additional charges of escape and battery of a health care provider.

They took Randoll to Land O’ Lakes jail, where he was being held Thursday in lieu of $25,150 bail.


Argument over women’s rights ends in the most Florida way possible, with a rabbit being punched July 2, 2014

BUNNYPUNCHER_17340Police say a Boynton Beach man argued with his girlfriend over women’s rights, then violently attacked her rabbit when she said she wanted to end the relationship.

Boynton Beach police responded to the 1000 block of Lake Terrace at 11:38 p.m. Friday for a report of a disturbance.

According to an arrest report, when the woman retreated to a bedroom to end the argument she heard a high-pitched screaming coming from the apartment’s living room. She told police she went to the living room and saw her boyfriend James W. Wertz, 28, abusing her pet rabbit by squeezing and punching it. She said he was hitting the rabbit so hard that blood was coming from its face.

When the woman tried to get Wertz to stop, she said he became enraged. She tried calling 9-1-1 and he threw her across the room, she said. He then grabbed a shirt and left, according to the report.

Police searched for Wertz but were unable to find him. The woman left the apartment for the night because she told police that Wertz has keys and she was afraid he would return after police left.

Police report the rabbit survived the beating and is recovering.

Wertz was located and arrested a few hours later. He remained jailed Tuesday on battery and animal cruelty charges.



No happy hunting ground for woman yielding knife, in search of sex, deputies say

It could be said that Elizabeth Highley doesn’t handle rejection well.

A 25-year-old man told St. Lucie County Sheriff’s investigators he was hanging out with Highley, 56, at her Jensen Beach home on June 16, according to a recently released report. They were drinking wine.


The man said Highley wanted to have sex with him, but that he rebuffed her amorous advances. He said she got angry and lost control, grabbing a cane and a hunting knife and chasing him around.

The man flagged down a deputy in the parking lot of a nearby convenience store and said a woman was chasing him with a knife and was going to kill him.

The deputy saw Highley run into the parking lot with a knife in one hand and what appeared to be a broken walking cane in the other. The deputy told her to drop the weapons and get on the ground, which she did.

The man said he’s friends with Highley.

He said they were hanging out drinking wine at Highley’s home in the 10800 block of South Ocean Drive when Highley wanted to have sex with him.

He said she started pursuing him with the knife and cane after he rejected her lovemaking proposition.

Highley was arrested on a felony aggravated assault charge.

Highley smelled of booze and didn’t appear to care that she was going to jail, the report states.


Argument leads to ‘boxing match’ with 70-year-old woman July 1, 2014

sfl-flduh-boxing-match-20140630-001An argument between two women allegedly ended in a boxing match that got the younger woman arrested.

On June 21, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s deputies responded to a Mary Esther residence for a disturbance, according to the arrest report. Lorie A. Miller said she’d had a fight with the other woman.

Miller said she’d been in a “boxing match” with the 70-year-old woman, the report said. Miller, 40, said she didn’t remember touching the woman, “but probably did shove her out of my way.”

A witness told deputies that he’d seen Miller physically attack the woman and shove her around the living room, according to the report. The victim’s statement was similar.

The victim had injuries on her arms, the report said.

Miller is charged with battery on a person 65 years of age or older.


Bar brouhaha erupts after revelations of amorous encounters June 29, 2014

The tiff that landed a 28-year-old Port St. Lucie woman behind bars involved reports of sex with a former boyfriend, a stomped cell phone and threats to “everyone around,” according to a recently released arrest affidavit.

giovinazzo_janineAt the drinking establishment, Charles Tyrrell, the ex-boyfriend of Janine Giovinazzo, told police he was there with friends when Giovinazzo started problems with him.The case began around midnight June 1 as Port St. Lucie police went to a bar in the 900 block of Southwest Gatlin Boulevard.

Tyrrell said Giovinazzo, 28, got angry because he told her current boyfriend that they still “occasionally” have sex.

“Janine then went outside and was very upset, yelling and screaming that she will fight anybody out there,” the affidavit states.

Tyrrell went outside to try to calm her and tell her to leave, but she didn’t. Tyrrell said Giovinazzo eventually grabbed him, and that her cell phone dropped during the process.

Giovinazzo said Tyrrell stomped on her fingers and cell phone.

Giovinazzo called 911.

Meanwhile, an independent witness said she was outside the bar on her phone when Giovinazzo approached “yelling that she will fight anybody for her man.”

“Are you the (female dog) in the bar with my man?” Giovinazzo is quoted as saying. “Do you wanna get your (buttocks) beat?”

The witness said she told Giovinazzo she was ridiculous, and that a man identified as Tyrrell asked Giovinazzo to leave.

Giovinazzo grabbed Tyrrell and started shaking him, dropping her phone in the process. Tyrrell kicked the phone as she bent down to grab it.

“Janine was still threatening everyone around,” the affidavit states.

Giovinazzo, of Port St. Lucie, was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge and taken to the St. Lucie County jail, while Tyrrell was issued a notice to appear in court on the same charge.



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